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Critical Thinking Case Study Essay

Describe all assumptions you see in any documents.

Kelly Thomas – Senior Engineer, Product Development1. Assumed AcuScan’s customers would not be happy with just anything developed and launched.

2. Assumed Pat did not have any technology experience previous job in the cereal industry.

3. Assumed Pat was talking to the programmers without Kelly’s knowledge or consent.

4. Assumed Pat wanted to continue arguing on email.

Pat Lambert – Director of Marketing1. Assumed the customer would be happy with anything launched on the market from AcuScan2. Assumed programmers could work in the new launch.

3. Assumed a new product launch would be simple to achieve.

4. Assumed that Kelly Thomas would go along with her regarding the “Operation Optimize”5. Assumed that the “Operation Optimize” could be launched in 6-months6. Assumed that meeting with Kelly Thomas in person would rectify the situation.

Cliff O’Connor – CEO1. Assumed Pat’s work ethic and experience in previous job will automatically benefit the firm and reach AcuScan’s target market.

2. Assumed the staff would not have any communication or personnel issues.

3. Assumed there would be a budget crisis.

Chris Martinas – VP, Product Development1. Assumed that it would not take much time to produce and launch a new product.

2. The potential return for first year would outlay with substantial ROI.

THE CONFLICT2) Explain the arguments made by each of these people.

Kelly Thomas argued that the new product features could not be developed ‘just like that’ and was detailed with planning, testing and quality control and could long make the features completely work by August. Kelly also stated that since the layoff two years ago, and 25% fewer programmers, they do not have the time or manpower for the product successfully to launch in time.

Pat Lambert argued that ‘Retail’ is the answer instead of airports and store security for the new iScanner product to enable retailers to identify incoming customers, with several high-tech features can be developed as a prototype by August and at one point Kelly admitted to it not being a problem to make the iScanner market-ready in time.

Chris Martinas argued that Secur-A was, AcuScan’s competition was working on a new product so AcuScan needs to expand into a different market and launch a new product by early 2004 or Secur-A would be on the top of the market.

Cliff O’Connor argued that even though AcuScan was facing budget dilemma’s they can find a way to launch the new iScanner.

3) Evaluate each argument.

a. Kelly Thomas – Kelly’s argument was logical mostly due to the fact he used the numbers and man hours from the first iScanner launch and he did not want to jeporize his and AcuScan’s reputation by throwing together a flimsy product launch.

b. Pat Lambert – Pat’s idea on launching a new product in a new market was a positive one, in fact, a great marketing strategy to be the first company on the market with a new product to get ahead of competition.

c. Chris Martinas – Chris does realize that to gain and maintain their targeted market, a budget deficit would need to be put in action because he believes it is important to have a product launch in a new market.

d. Cliff O’Connor – Although Cliff’s argument deems logical, it becomes unbeknownst there are major budgetary issues with AcuScan and to launch the iScanner correctly, there are many other decisions that need to be involved, this may include more lay-offs. Cliff is basing the fact that this new launch in a ‘new’ market will take minimal cost in time and money because AcuScan has done it in the past.

4) Describe specific fallacious arguments, and identify the people who hold them.

Pat had a fallacious argument by stating that since other staff members had been with the company longer than Pat, they had a great deal invested in the company and knew what they had to accomplish in order to get a new product off and running.

Chris made a fallacious argument about the company being on top again if the company developed a new product. But the since it is unknown, there is no evidence or research at this point the company cannot be certain of this fact.

II: CONCLUSIONS1. Describe all problems in this situation.

2. For each problem, describe the data, arguments, and reasoning that contribute to each problem.

AcuScan was faced with many problems trying to produce and launch their new iScanner. One main issue was the fact of AcuScan was planning to develop a new product when the company was already facing budgeting issues. Another problem was the staff at AcuScan not meeting face-to-face; instead they relied mainly on email to correspond with one another. Brainstorming, marketing product launches, and budgeting meetings could have benefited the staff and issues could have been handled different and resolved. Cliff, the CEO should have taken initiative and interjected about the major communication issue the staff was having with one another.

Use your reasoning to complete the worksheet below.

3. What is the underlying problem that is the base cause of the conflict within the company?The underlying problem that caused the majority of the issues at AcuScan was the lack of communication between department staff members which resulted in fallacious emails, snide, unnecessary comments which led to lack of production.

4. Alternative solutions. Due to the budgetary issues that were upon AcuScan, instead of a complicated new product launch, expanding the iScanner into industries such as hospitals, colleges and even government offices instead of expanding the new iScanner into the retail environment where the complicated launch requires many additional features is a possible solution, while keeping the idea for the retail industry on the shelf for future product launches.

6. Which solution will you recommend to the CEO? Why? Since both solutions are important, I would mention both to the CEO. Since communication is the backbone of an organization, I would bring up that issue first.

Part II: Executive Summary1. Purpose and ScopeThe purpose of this summary is to analyze the issues on launching the new iScanner from AcuScan and rectify any facts pertaining to the potential launch. The scope includes various communications between colleagues and issues that resulted from that dialog. In conclusion the problems will be stated, solutions formulated and recommended results to rectify these problems will be discussed.

2. Summary of the SituationThe conflict between several key persons at AcuScan is hindering the growth of the firm and is causing havoc in receiving positive results for this potential new product launch. Secur-A, AcuScan’s, main competitor is only 4 months from launching their new product so it is believed to be absolutely essential to the survival of AcuScan to beat them to market with a successful product as well.

3. Key PointsPat Lambert – the new director of Marketing, and Kelly Thomas – chief of the software development team, cannot agree on the length of time and the number of programming hours it will take to bring the new product to market. Kelly states that even with current staffing levels, they do not have the time or manpower to launch a new product the correct way.

Pat’s states that a prototype can be built within the timeframe and budget however, neither Pat nor Kelly can compromise.

Chris Martinas – VP of Product Development believes that Pat and Kelly can work out their differences together. Chris does not quite understand the magnitude of programming involved with this launch though.

ConclusionsAs a result of fallacious emails to one another regarding the new product launch for Pat Lambert and Kelly Thomas both feel alienated and find it hard to compromise on the new iScanner Retail Project. The fallacious emails between Kelly and Pat are regarding their disagreement about the capabilities of the software design team and the man-power to create programming for all the features in the new iScanner. Pat is not quite experienced in dealing with software programmers, their processes and requirements. Pat and Kelly’s emails result in emotional and defensive and inability to listen to each other and cooperate on the new iScanner launch so it does not happen.

Conclusion and RecommendationsIn many cases, conflict in the workplace just seems to be a fact of life. Many have seen situations where different people with different goals and needs have come into conflict. And we have all seen the often-intense personal animosity that can result.

The fact that conflict exists, however, is not necessarily a bad thing: As long as it is resolved effectively, it can lead to personal and professional growth.

In many cases, effective conflict resolution skills can make the difference between positive and negative outcomes.

The good news is that by resolving conflict successfully, you can solve many of the problems that it has brought to the surface, in addition to getting benefits that you might not at first expect:My recommendation would be to get Pat, Kelly, Chris and Cliff into a room for a face-to-face meeting. The point of this is to increase the understanding which is needed to resolve conflict and it expands people’s awareness of the situation, giving them an insight into how they can achieve their own goals without undermining those of other people. Additionally, if is resolved effectively, team members can develop stronger mutual respect, and a renewed faith in their ability to work together; and after allowing a brief period of venting, the meeting can be called to order.

At this point I would recommend that all emotion be excluded from the communication process, so that the first of many beneficial and productive brainstorming sessions can begin. Another thing I would recommend is to re-vamp the iScanner launch so the product launch is conducive to the budget and to better fit the company’s abilities. For instance, instead of launching a complicated product, possibly expand the current iScanner into other industries such as hospitals, colleges and the government, while adding possibly one or two features. The iScanner retinal scanner will perform the same functions as its current version with possibly one or two new features to keep within the company’s budget. Keeping the expansion of the ‘Retail’ iScanner idea on the backburner to launch in a year or two but after Secur-A launches their product.


Apollo Group (2003). UOP Assessment. Retrieved 4/19/08, from

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